Author(s): Dr Roberta Fenech, Dr Priya Baguant, Ihab Abdelwahed
Workforce readiness, that is the extent to which graduates have the characteristics and attributes that prepare them for success at work, is a national priority in many countries, including the United Arab Emirates. The aim of this research study is to assess the work readiness of female Emirati graduating students from the perspective of female Emirati students who are in the final years of their tertiary education. The theoretical framework of this research study is the four-factor work readiness model by Caballero, Walker and Fuller-Tyszkiewicz. The four factors of work readiness are personal work characteristics, work competence, organizational acumen and social intelligence. These are measured using a 60-item questionnaire. The participants are 302 Emirati graduating students across various faculties in a tertiary education institution. The contribution of this study is that it assesses the perception of female graduating students and does not limit itself to any particular profession or discipline, such as the health profession, but extends across various disciplines as its context is a higher education institution in the United Arab Emirates. Findings show that each of the four factors has good internal consistency and significantly predict participants' ratings of work readiness. The main finding is that the perceived work readiness of female Emirati graduating students is a positive perception; however graduating students perceive that they are least work ready with regards to skills related to their personal development, confidence and stress management (personal work characteristics). Recommendations are given for future research and tertiary education institutions.